Present and Accounted For

Hi there!  Hope everyone is doing well!  Grab your favorite beverage, and find a relaxing spot.  We’ve had about a week or so of rain and clouds, but today, just for a minute, the sun broke through.  It was glorious!  But you know, I could have easily missed it.  Just like I could have easily missed some of my grandson’s antics yesterday.  Or missed the fact that I was being brought into a friend’s confidence if I hadn’t been truly present in the moment.

I saw a very interesting video a little while ago that sparked the thoughts for this post. It’s about 4 minutes long, but worth every second of viewing.  An artist was doing contemporary art; the medium was people.  The composition was one minute of silence with a stranger.

Two things struck me from viewing this piece.  First, how much we can say without speaking a single word.  It has been said that the eyes are the window to the soul.  The reactions of the people across from the artist were varied.  Sometimes, facial expressions changed, body language changed.  You could sense whether a person was open, guarded, or preoccupied.

Second, I wonder how much we miss in our busy lives, always tethered to some electronic device.  How many smiles do we miss-  smiles received or given?  How many opportunities to help do we miss, because we simply aren’t ‘present’ to the ones around us?  Yesterday, I got a chance to visit with my daughter and grandson while my son-in-law attended an event.  I could have missed so much!

I’ll be honest.  I virtually never turn on a TV at home.  When there’s a movie playing on one someplace else, I can get pretty engrossed really quickly.  The prior weekend, I totally missed the surroundings when T climbed out of my lap.  I knew he did that.  I just didn’t realize where he headed next, and what he got into – mere inches from where I sat, totally focused on the movie we were watching.  Bad Grandma!

All this made me wonder what I communicate to those around me.  Do I radiate Joy?  Peace? Agitation?  Indifference?  Self-absorption?  Sadness?  Anger?  What do people see and feel when they encounter me – my family, the sales clerk, folks at church, other drivers, those whom I encounter at work?  The other thing is this:  how often am I truly present with those around me?  I know a lady who has an alarm set on her phone to go off with a gentle chime every hour.  It reminds her to be truly present with those around her, and not engrossed in her own thoughts, her own work, or an electronic device of some type.

Where do we need to be most present?  How about our families?  How often is the TV going, or social media up, or the smart phone has a game or maybe we’re engrossed in the newspaper or a book or magazine?  How much do we miss of the stuff that really matters? Information is cheap, it’s plentiful, and the addictive media screams loudly for our best attention.

It’s even come into the church.  Awhile back a priest asked me if I had my smart phone with me at confession.  Seriously.  He would have had me look up a certain prayer to pray as part of my penance; I probably looked at him like he was from another planet.  In my mind, the last place in the world I would want a smart phone is at reconciliation.  The LAST place, tied with Eucharistic Adoration and a church service or Mass.

That brings me to my last question.  How often are we truly present with God?  We go to church, we sing songs, we listen to CD’s or our i-pods, we read books, we say our prayers.  But when was the last time you simply sat still and let Him speak to you?  The Catholic Church has a wonderful practice called Eucharistic Adoration.  (Go ahead and Google it if you like, I’ll wait.)  I realize that God is omnipresent and transcendent.  But we are physical beings, and sometimes having a physical reference can help us enter in.  It’s a wonderful time to truly be present with Christ in a more tangible way.  We can share everything that is on our hearts, then listen to what He might speak to our hearts in return.

How about you?  Are you truly present with the Lord from time to time?  Or do you need some help, maybe even to get there in the first place?  Find a pastor or priest.  They will be happy to help you get connected, or re-connected with the Lord.  He’s waiting to love you.  Don’t miss it!

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